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[Xmca-l] In defense of Vygotsky [Environment as Productive Force]



Hi Andy!

Thanks for your comments upon my exercise.

I have need for further discussion, but I will break the original email (with your replies) down into smaller chunks in hope that others will make some contributions?  (Anyone out there? C'mon in, the water's fine!)

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Meanwhile... back at the ranch... the numbers in this (and continuing) posts will refer to the "charges" is I numbered them in my previous email, if only for continuity from before, which I use for convenience only.

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1. [Environment as productive force] (see original post below)
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Perhaps I am over-extending the argument here, however I would like to ask whether the strategy of "extension of analogy" serves a purpose. I mean, sure, the easy answer is that it was politically expedient.

Certainly "extension by analogy" is what we do all the time, but this is as an initial cognitive step of comparing and contrasting. It is useful, but it can also be dangerous if it is only to incite the "reasoning" of superstition over science. I will concede that there may have been reason to incite the superstitious in ANL's case, but I am not satisfied.

A small illustration: The meat of the walnut looks like the brain, and it was thought centuries ago that because of its simulation to the brain in form this meant it was good for the brain! And yet we know today that the nutrients in walnuts are in fact helpful to the brain because of their support of the cardiovascular system and aid to promote sleep (anti-clotting/anti-inflammatory minerals and melotonin, respectively). So yes, the walnut is indeed beneficial to the brain. After all is said and done, we can exclaim, "Well, that's just nuts!" and reply, "Yes, it is nuts!" and _mean_ different things. (i.e. "that's the nature of walnuts," or "that's crazy.")

So I suppose I wonder what is ANL's true purpose of "extension by analogy," in this case? I accept that it is not scientific, and we can say it's obviously political. 

But my question is deeper, could there be any other reason behind it? 

It may be I am poking the worms under the rock too much...

--- clip from previous post below

>> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 06:28:48 +0000
>> Annalisa wrote:

>> _1st charge_: Environment as productive force
>> ----------
>> ANL states that the relationship LSV claims a child possesses with the environment is based actually upon _productive forces_ the child has with the environment. I am guessing that this translates to what the child can do to transform the environment, or how the environment motivates the child to act? You make the observation that if ANL means "society" to be defined as "nation-state," then in the case of an adult, the relationship is not only with the environment, but with a society of others, and in mediation with them, in concert.
>>
>> Your contention with this line of thought is that we cannot supplant the Vygotsky's outline of the problem of the environment by analogy of the Soviet political system of historical materialism because... [doubt sets in] LSV is talking about the development of children who's minds have not yet formed. (???)
> ----------

> Andy's reply to #1 above:
>
>My criticism is that analogies won't do. The psychological development of an individual is simply not the historical development of a nation's productive forces and an argument by analogy has no merit. 

>--end